Editorial by Stacy Solomon
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to Phil Mickelson
on his win at the 2005 FBR Open!
Next, the question arises, "Just how did Phil do it?"
He is usually an aggressive player, "going for the green" whenever he thinks he can make it, regardless of the consequences. This makes him an exciting player to watch, but also makes him prone to failure and losses, with large leads slipping away by the end of the tournament.
Hitting the fairway was essential at the Phoenix CC, and proved to be an easy task for Mickelson early on in the tournament.
But, on Sunday, with the pressure running high, Phil missed many fairways...but EXCITED his fans with brilliant recovery shots (the one through the trees, for example should be a top ten pick for 2005!).
Through all of the drama, Mickelson never gave up his lead...the mark of a true champion.
The local crowd, Phil's fan base, cheered him on as if he were a rock star, especially at the 16th par 3, the "amphitheater setting". Hit the green on this hole, the crowd cheers wildly...miss and you get booed off the stage! Mickelson did not disappoint and went on to birdie the 18th and claim an exciting 5 shot victory.
I am probably one of Mickelson's most vocal, adoring fans (a lefty rooting for Lefty) and have watched him faithfully for years. With the recent switch to Callaway and a terrific coach by his side, Phil is now concentrating on his mental game. When he gets into trouble, instead of going for the green, he now finds a way to get out of trouble FIRST, then gets SAFELY onto the green.
The beginner golfer can learn quite a bit from Mickelson's change of mental attitude. It is important to realize when it is safe to go for the green or when to lay up on a par 4 (eg) then chip for birdie and maybe save par...that IS the game, you know! This "safe" thinking will save many strokes on the course for the beginner golfer (and for golfers of all levels...look what it did for Mickelson!).
And, getting back to Mickelson's change of equipment...is it necessary? Did it improve his game? Sure, his income has gone up dramatically from the switch. Callaway is a solid brand name, with Mickelson's clubs fine tuned just for him. Phil says that the golf clubs have helped his game, but a great golfer like Phil could probably use MY left-handed golf clubs and hit 300 yard drives, pitch to perfection and hole most putts!
For the average golfer, it is important to have golf clubs measured for you by a qualified clubmaker. "Try before you buy" will also give you the best feel for the golf club and determine which club feels the best in your fingertips, the proper weight, grip, etc.
However, as Phil and the world can see, more than a change in his equipment or mental attitude on the course, the best medicine for Mickelson's game is returning at the end of a tournament to his lovely wife, Amy and his beautiful children.
It is also nice to see that Phil cares so deeply about our troops and their families...Thanks Phil...make alot of birdies and eagles this year!
Rick Bragg: How to Grovel - *(This is the first of what may be an occasional off-golf-topic piece because I want to share my other nonfiction writing with more readers. Thanks as alwa...
1 day ago